FLW Fishing Report - Finding Fish Attractors

Murray, KY – Scott Ellison shares tips for finding fish attractors in Kentucky Lake in this week's FLW Fishing Report.

Scott Ellison here, with the FLW Weekly Fishing Report.

Rotten weather or not, crappie fishing is really good now on the lake. Maybe it's because there aren't many people going fishing right now because of the rain and wind, but whatever the crappies are biting.

Eric Benson at Benson's Sporting Goods says that the blood river stake beds and brushpiles are producing a lot of limits on bobby garland baby shad tails rigged on one-sixteenth or one-thirty-second-ounce jigheads. Some fishermen are casting while others are just easing along spider-rigging. The standard crappie colors - shad, pearl and chartreuese - are working now but when all that muddy rain water gets here, you can bet the brighter colors like hot pink will be better to use.

Do you know where the public stake beds in the blood river arm are? If you don't, go to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife web site at fw.ky.gov, look under fishing & boating, then click on department lakes with fish attractors, then click on Kentucky Lake and there's the map. You'll see that the backend of Blood River is practically covered up with stake beds put in by fish and wildlife, but there are a lot of others that fishermen added. Also, just about every cove and creek on both sides of the lake have fish attractors. If you call Paul Rister at the district fisheries office in Murray, 753-3886, he'll help you with the GPS coordinates for your fish finder, but really the best way to locate the stake beds is to go fishing and watch for the signs.

The state marks every stake bed with a buoy if the water's fairly deep, or with a white PVC pipe if it's fairly shallow. The square marker sign shows a fish and a fish hook. The TVA and Corps of Engineers requires the state to sink the deeper brush piles and stake beds so that they'll be covered up with at least 10 feet of water at winter pool, which is 354 feet. Inshore on the mud flats, there's no requirement on the water depth as long as the white PVC pole is plainly visible. If you see two or three buoys in a row, that means there's a line of brush down there. If you see just one, that's a single stake bed or brushpile.

But a caveat here: the sign might not be exactly where the fish attractor is. Unfortunately, sometimes the folks in a pontoon boat will tie off on a marker sign to fish and if the wind gets up, the pontoon will start dragging the sign and its concrete anchor away from the cover. It happens quite a bit, but you can be sure the stake bed or brush pile is around there somewhere close.

Paul and his guys refresh the stake beds and brushpiles every other year. Typically, for stake beds, they buy hickory or oak one-by-ones or two-by-ones, what we would call tobacco sticks, from a sawmill near Cadiz and stake about 60 or 70 of them at a time in the bottom. For brushpiles, they either cut brush at TVA or Corps land as permitted, and sink it. Or, they get leftover Christmas trees donated by Lowes, Krogers or other sources after Christmas, and sink them. For the most part, they refresh the shallow stake beds in the winter when the water is down, and work on the deeper brush piles and stake beds during the summer months.

It's a pretty good project, and has done local fishermen a lot of good in recent years. Kentucky Lake is at an age now where there's not much original cover left, and the only way to congregate fish in certain areas is to sink stake beds and brush piles.

It works; they're fish magnets, and I hope you get to prove it to yourself sometime in the near future. The crappies are biting; get after them.

This is Scott Ellison, signing off for FLW until next week.

Scott Ellison is a lifelong fisherman and FLW College Fishing Promotions Manager.